Animated short film tells story of Indigenous youth combating colonial influence

Michif filmmaker Amanda Strong brings her vision of decolonization to life with stop motion animation and shadow puppetry in the short film Flood.

Amanda Strong's film questions colonial view of Canadian history

The short film Flood follows the character, Thunder, who was woven into creation by Spider Woman. (CBC)

Indigenous activist Jesse Wente curated five films made by Aboriginal filmmakers in response to a call to action made by musician Buffy Saint Marie to "Keep Calm and Decolonize."

Each story depicts what Canada might look like had it not been colonized by European settlers.

In one short film, Flood, Michif filmmaker Amanda Strong used shadow puppetry and stop motion animation to tell the story of Thunder, an Indigenous youth combating the massive influence of European settlers in North America.

"When you go back to a lot of Indigenous ideologies and principles, you realize that learning or knowledge comes from so many other sources than an institution or a school," Strong told North by Northwesthost Sheryl McKay.

Flood of 'lies'

In Flood, the character of Spider Woman creates Thunder, whose purpose is to fight off a flurry of papers created by an indestructible, white-wigged spirit that represents colonial rule.

"That's the metaphor of the flood, the flood of these lies of history I guess you could say," she said.

Strong has always been fascinated by the lore behind the Indigenous character of Spider Woman, a goddess of storytelling and weaving.

The image of the mythological figure took form in a marionette created by collaborator and puppeteer Dusty Hagerud.

In addition to the work of Hagerud, Strong commissioned the poetic talent of Indigenous hip-hop artist Craig Frankie to write and perform the narration of the short.

The film has also been selected to be part of TIFF's Canada's Top Ten Film Festival which runs from Jan. 12 to 21.

"To be celebrated in this way is really is really powerful and it feels really good for the work that's talking about these topics to be celebrated in this platform."

To hear the full interview with Amanda Strong on North by Northwest listen to media below:

Amanda Strong on her latest short film "Flood" 13:08

With files from the CBC's North by Northwest